Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) has introduced legislation to extend the charitable deduction to individuals and couples who do not itemize their tax returns. The Universal Charitable Giving Act of 2017 (H.R. 3988) allows non-itemizers to claim the charitable deduction, but deduction-eligible contributions from those taxpayers would be capped at a third of the standard deduction (roughly $2,000 for individuals/$4,000 for couples under current law).

Rep. Walker said that his proposal allows “everybody an opportunity” to use the charitable deduction and would “benefit the middle-income community.” The tax reform framework unveiled by Republican leaders last month retains a charitable deduction for itemizers, but the number of itemizers would be sharply reduced to only five percent of all taxpayers due to other proposed modifications to the tax code.

The introduction of a bill for a universal charitable tax deduction is a major gain for the joint efforts the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities is contributing to, which is spearheaded by Leadership 18, Independent Sector, and the Charitable Giving Coalition, each of which the Alliance is a member. A universal charitable tax deduction is expected to expand charitable giving and is an important opportunity to make available to all taxpayers, especially in light of the Republicans’ currently proposed tax reform framework.

Alliance President and CEO Susan Dreyfus serves as Chair of Leadership 18, a coalition of some of the nation’s largest and most influential human service non-profits. In a year that marks the 100th anniversary of the charitable tax deduction, Leadership 18 is advocating for a universal charitable tax deduction that would expand charitable giving rather than limit it under new tax reform proposals. For more information, read Leadership 18 member and YMCA president and CEO Kevin Washington’s excellent commentary in The NonProfit Times.

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